At Least The View Of The River Is Nice?
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Piasa Harbor is a home-made 9 hole along the Mississippi River. Hidden on a peninsula on the other side of a marina, this course can provide a somewhat secluded quick round of golf.
Piasa Harbor is located between Godfrey and Grafton. While there aren't any businesses close to the course, you can find gas stations or restaurants in neighboring towns you will likely pass to get here, most notably Alton for folks coming from the South or Missouri. The harbor is one of the few things between the river and Highway 100, and the road to this course provides some nice riverside views of the Mississippi. The Alton and Godfrey region has 6 courses now, so it's easy to combine this course with others for a full or even half day of golf. La Vista is especially close, being less than 3 miles down the road.
Course equipment is pretty basic at Piasa, but is enough to play a round of golf. While some are damaged or missing, there are tee signs here that include hole numbers, distances, and pars. There's a rough sketch of each hole on the signs, but with how open the course is, you really don't need any more information. The baskets are home-made, constructed from plastic barrels, with a ring of 6 chains on each basket. As a fan of Breaking Bad, I'll say there are certainly worse ways to use these kinds of barrels. As for nearby amenities, there isn't much, though there is a swing set next to the course. It has 6 swings, which is probably at least 5 more than the area needs.
The course design at Piasa is pretty straightforward, but makes the most out of the peninsula it's on, fitting 9 holes perfectly on the piece of land. Over half the holes are under 300 feet long, with only one hole topping 400, making this a relatively short course and accessible for newer players. The course has some trees around it, but it mostly plays open with minimal obstacles. The tree line on hole 4 provides challenges if you end up too far left, and a couple of other holes do play along or near the water, providing some risk/reward to keep in mind as you gauge how much distance you want to get with your shots.
Cons: I appreciate the ingenuity of whoever built these baskets. That being said, they are showing their age, and probably weren't much better when they were new. With only 6 chains per basket, putts are much more likely to spit out on this course. Some of the chains are looped around the center pole like on your typical disc golf basket, but some loops are missing which leaves the 6 chains dangling around the outside of some baskets. You'll want to loft your putts more here, which may not be ideal if you're not much of a lofty putter. In addition, many of the baskets are starting to warp and a few have cracks either on the top or in the basket itself. Given how the surroundings look, I'm not going to assume that the original builder is coming to fix them.
The course location o Piasa Harbor is far from ideal. It's right off the highway which is nice, but there's nothing else really going on around the property. There's a marina that has just enough newer looking boats to not look abandoned, but that's about it. There's a building near the parking lot, but it doesn't look like the store that some other reviews mention. If you look online, google says the Fast Stop is closed. To get to the course, you'll want to park near the marina, and then walk to the right around the marina. The walk to the course probably isn't actually that bad, but it feels longer than it is. Other than the marina, there's nothing around here, so plan ahead with drinks and snacks.
Newer players may get enjoyment from this course, but the design is pretty easy for most intermediate players. All of the shots are straight with minimal obstacles in your way, and there aren't really any highlights to be had across the 9 holes. The view of the river is a nice setting, but this isn't enough to outweigh the generic course design and the negatives with the course equipment.
This course is right next to the Mississippi, so I wonder if the course floods during the Spring and Summer. At the very least, water probably gets very close to some of the fairways after rainier periods.
Other Thoughts: It seems like this area was more vibrant at one point, but the area is clearly past its prime. With nothing else really going on with the property and the state of the course, this course doesn't have much appeal outside of bagging the course with a quick round. Now that I've played a round here, I really don't see myself coming back to this course other than to see if it's still there in the future. It's close to Rock Spring and La Vista, but the only think I thought after my round here at 9 in the morning was that I could have started playing La Vista 30 minutes earlier if I didn't come here first.
If you're someone who likes to hit every course you can, by all means come play Piasa Harbor; once you enter the parking lot you will be able to see the white baskets across the marina. If you're looking for a good course to play, I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to play this course. Maybe this course will get some love down the road, but I'm not really counting on it.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: For having home made baskets I had fun out here. Was super windy when we played but that is not a course fault. Layed out well. The baskets the chains need some lovin.
Cons: Baskets of course or at least get back out and resecure the chains on the bottom. Could use a trash can out there
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
CROSS THE ROAD FOR NOW!
Pros: Short holes. Scenic and simple.
Cons: Homemade baskets make putting a little of a challenge.
Other Thoughts: Because of the rising water levels of the Mississippi River, the nine holes of this course are currently on the opposite side of the River Road. Instead of turning left on Lockhaven as the directions state, turn right and you will see the course to your left and right immediately (on Lockhaven). The nine holes behind Piasa Harbor are still there, but the area is too muddy to play. From the looks of it, they pulled the baskets for now and intend to eventually return so that both sets of nine holes will be combined for an active 18-hole course.
I have nothing really to add to what the other reviewers have already said. As an Alton local, I prefer Rock Spring and Sioux Passage above anything else within a 20 minute drive. But if you're around for Rock Spring and want a fun short course, this is not bad.
I have several friends I play with who had a better time here, just because they throw wild and lose discs in the woods too often at Rock Spring. Of course, having said that, we lost two discs in the lake on this course (but dove in to retrieve one of them!).
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice Homemade 9-Holer
Pros: Nice little 9-Holer right on the Mississippi River. Once you pull into the Marina area, turn right past the General Store / Gas Station.
- Easy to follow and flows well.
- A few trash cans on the course.
- The couse is of average length. Enough birdie chances on the short holes, and moderate par 3's on the long holes.
- The view of the river is a nice touch.
- The tee signs are well done. Carved out of wood, they are mounted on posts and have 1/4" plastic covering them to help protect them.
Cons: The obvious con here are the baskets. They are well made plastic and concreted in the gound and are very stable, but they lack enough chains to stop an average putt. There are many birdie chances on this course, but you are constantly loft putting even from 20' to guarantee your putt will stick in the basket.
- Plastic baskets
- Natural tee pads
- With a lot of people on the course, keep your head up so that you don't hit or get hit by a drive on a nearby hole.
Other Thoughts: Overall it is a decent course. You can tell who ever designed it has experience with disc golf because it isn't thrown together. It is obvious that a lot of thought was put into laying out this course in the little room that they had and the use of the river on 3 holes and trees makes for an enjoyable play, and the holes are at various lengths from 195' to just over 400'.
The grass was a little high but manageable.
Thankfully the river was down. Hole 2 (195') plays directly towards the river from the tee and the pin is only 40-50' away from the river. I could definately see people losing a few discs when the river is up and only 30' from the basket and the headwind from the river taking a few discs - but that just adds to the enjoyment of the hole.
Although I don't think it has been played much, a couple started behind me on my second round and it was their first time playing the course. Thanks to DGCR.com for both of us finding this course.
Also, the general store has everything you would need including food, drinks (a nice selection of adult beverages as well) and even canoes or kayaks to rent (also helpful if you need to go in the water to find your disc).
I'll will definately be back when I'm on my way to play Rock Spring again and if you are in the area, stop by and play, but I wouldn't go out of my way just to play this one course. If it had tee pads and real baskets, i'd give it a 2.5.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Scenic, but simple
Pros: This is a nine hole course situated on a tiny patch of land that overlooks the Mississippi river. Flat and straight, the 9 homemade baskets are visible from anywhere on the course. There are some mature trees, and the baskets are placed in such a way that take as much advantage of the growth as possible. The first three holes play along the water's edge, but its not really a hazard unless you shank it or catch bad wind/tree branches. This is one of those "Okay, I've played it. One and done" type courses.
Cons: Flat and straight. Flat and straight. No challenge for a player, but probably a lot of fun for families with children.
Homemade baskets have all of 6 rows of chains, so spitouts abound.
Other Thoughts: The view of the river is beautiful. The course is part of the Piasa Harbor Marina, which has a store, marina, walking paths and I do believe camping. It is not a destination course, but I will say, if you're out playing Rock Springs in Alton, take the 15 minute drive and toss some putters around to finish out your day and spend a couple bucks at the store to support these folks. I love the fact that the sport is becoming more and more known by the average joe, to the point that someone wanted to use this little patch of land with a view, and chose Disc Golf as the means of doing so.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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